If the Cardinals are going to win tonight, they will have to mount a more impressive comeback than Game 5 of the NLDS against the Nationals. Which is to say the odds are pretty long.
The Giants plated five runs in the bottom of the third inning to chase Kyle Lohse from the game and grab a 7-0 lead.
Marco Scutaro led off the third inning with a single before Pablo Sandoval doubled to left and Buster Posey drew a walk to load the bases. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny then pulled Lohse from the game and brought in Joe Kelly to face Hunter Pence. Pence followed with a bizarre broken-bat double which had enough spin on it to completely fool shortstop Pete Kozma. Jon Jay had trouble picking the ball up in center field, so all three baserunners came around to score. But the Giants were just getting started.
Kelly then gave up a single to Brandon Belt and walked Gregor Blanco to load the bases before Brandon Crawford hit a ground ball at Kozma, who decided to throw home rather than go for the out at first base. However, the throw was too late. Kelly managed to strike out Matt Cain for the first out and induced a would-be double play ground ball from Angel Pagan, but Kozma made a high throw to Daniel Descalso which caused a late throw to first base and allowed another run to score. This was not Kozma’s finest hour.
Kelly walked Scutaro before being replaced by Edward Mujica, who finally ended the marathon 30-minute frame by getting Pablo Sandoval to line out to first base. The Giants sent 11 men to the plate in the inning and have handed a commanding lead to Cain in Game 7. The Tigers await the winner.
The Tigers have been terrible and the embarked on a rebuild this summer, shipping off Justin Verlander and multiple other players. Miguel Cabrera is hurt and may never be his old MVP-level self. It is, without a doubt, that the Tigers and their fans are about to begin a new chapter in the franchise’s history.
Such new chapters usually involve new managers. Fourth-year manager Brad Ausmus is still at the helm and the Tigers have made no public statement about his future. Ausmus, however, is a lame duck, with his contract ending a week from Sunday. He is also no fool. He seems to know very well that he’s not going to be around next year. From Katie Strang of The Athletic:
Ausmus, of course, has been on the hot seat several times. When Detroit exercised his option for this year, their refusal to extend it sent a pretty clear signal.
If this is the end of the road in Detroit for Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager, it will end with him having missed the playoffs in three of his four seasons at the helm of a star-studded team that was expected to Win Now, as they say. Yes, there were a lot of issues with the Tigers — their bullpen has always been a problem and the brass made a lot of questionable choices in signings and trades over the past few years — but there is no escaping the fact that Ausmus’ Tigers under achieved.
Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year, $13 million extension with the Blue Jays, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Last night Morosi reported that the sides were near a deal.
This extension is, functionally, like adding a year on to his old deal, which paid him $26 million for the 2016-17 seasons. As Bill noted last night. while the 34-year-old right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176.2 innings this year and has improved in the second half.